Online Movie Viewing: How Does It Work?

Free movie sites are increasingly popular in the modern day and age for those who don’t want to – or can’t afford to – pay for all of the quality movies, tv shows, and other digital viewable content floating around out there. However, there is a lot of ambiguity on the legality of many of these sites, and some – such as the iconic 123 movies – have been shut down and re-upped time and again as various countries bring their legal challenges to court. So, for all of those users who know what’s going on, but not quite how, we are here to break it down for you.

So…How Do Free Streaming Sites Work?

Free streaming sites are legally embattled more frequently, and in more ways, than many other kinds of websites out there. To avoid these legal battles, many free streaming sites have adopted a new mode of operation to cut down on the time spent offline:

  • Hosting content off-site: To avoid the legal kerfuffle, free streaming sites link to content held on a secondary website on a different server, so they don’t appear to claim ownership. Users will never see this second website, but it’s essential in getting your free movie fix.
  • Acting as a search engine: When users click that big green PLAY button in the middle of the screen, their movie is “searched” or linked from the aforementioned secondary background site.
  • Streaming through channels – and never touching the movie itself: Even though you’re on a free streaming website, that website never actually touches the movie. When you hit PLAY, the secondary background site streams the video straight to your computer, completely bypassing the first website in the process.

The process by which free movies are streamed is known online and in the business as file-sharing. The basic principle is that a file is hosted on one website, such as 123movies.go, and “shared” to another through a search engine-like function, hence the name. Though some users may question the process and legality, at the end of the day…free movies are worth it, are they not?